Another SEO professional was concerned about using quotes, linking, and guest posts.
When they curate content, they’re basically taking content from WebMD and using the snippet as a point of reference.
The SEO professional asked whether they should be providing a link back to WebMD as the citation of the source of information or not.
John Mueller said that if they’re quoting something, then including a link to the source of the information will always make sense. It’s really just a usability issue. Regarding SEO, there wouldn’t necessarily be a change just by linking to someone else’s websites.
John likened it to being a spammy technique like one that was used where an SEO professional would create a low-quality page. Then, at the bottom, they would link to CNN, Google or Wikipedia, and then they would hope that Google sees it as a good page just because it links to CNN.
Don’t over-worry about using good anchor text. Instead, worry about using good anchor text and link to your content so users are certain about what that content that is being linked to is as well.
Make sure you also include context in order to increase the user’s understanding of where the internal link links to.
The SEO professional had another question about guest posts. More specifically: how does Google know whether or not the guest post is paid and whether to burn the link or assign it value?
John said that guest post links should always be nofollowed.
Essentially, a guest post is an ad for your business. In that regard, John recommended making sure guest posts are nofollowed.
The link anchor text is really the part that makes guest posts problematic.
This conversation happens at approximately the 23:16 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 7 23:16
So first, my video’s off, because I’m having some bandwidth issues. My first question: all my questions are small, and they are around anchor text.
So when we are writing a page on our own website, and we curate content, for example, from WebMD, we are taking a snippet and using it as a point of reference. And if we were to give a citation to WebMD, in other words, the source URL. I have preferred to use it in the footer. So when the person is reading it, they don’t jump off within the article and jump off to WebMD to learn more.
So my user stays on the site. Now there are two thoughts. Should we give a link back to Web MD? Or should we not because I have not found a reference anywhere that Google wants you to link back? You know, so why should I give any more links than Web MD? Has that, you know, etc. So that was my first question, how, what’s the best practice from a Google point of view?
I think if you’re quoting something, then linking to the source always makes sense. So that’s kind of just just purely from a usability point of view. I think that would make sense.
With regards to SEO for your website, I don’t know if you would see any particular change by by specifically linking to other people’s websites because it’s one of those also spammy techniques that used to be used quite a bit where you would create a low-quality page and then on the bottom, you would link to CNN and Google and Wikipedia.
And then you would hope well, Google thinks this is a good page because it links to CNN.
SEO Professional 7 25:10
Yeah, and that’s the reason I was talking about linking, I gave a reference to within the authority. But when we are linking to somebody, there are some legal issues from an FTC guideline that when you link your kind of giving recommendation, and the user might think, okay, okay, I’m going to click here and do something.
And then I have received letters from lawyers, hey, stop linking to us, because we don’t want to be linked. So that’s why I have not linked to people. Okay, so I wanted to know, from an SEO perspective. Now, the second thing is, if I have content that is off-page, in other words, I wrote a piece of content on LinkedIn, and I’m connecting back to my website. And the question is about anchor text. So from an SEO mindset, I can say, Okay, I want to link back to my, if my page talks about SEO Services, I can use an anchor text to learn more, check my SEO Services page.
Now that’s anchor text that worries me because while it’s a great anchor text that will benefit me, from a web accessibility point of view, that’s the kind of link I should use, you know, but from an SEO, it’s like over-optimization coming back to me, so how do I handle that, you know, coming back, because there are risk levels, you know,
I mean, usually what happens is, we look at the web, and we find all kinds of links. If you’re creating content on multiple platforms, I would try to use useful, useful anchor text. So it gives us more information about the page that you’re linking to.
So if that’s like an anchor text, that includes SEO services, or whatever, I think that’s perfectly fine. Because usually, we have a wide variety of things kind of linking around, and some of them will be kind of like, click this page, and that’s the anchor text, and others will have more information about the link.
I wouldn’t necessarily kind of like, over-worry about using a good anchor text instead would try to use good anchor text and like link to your content so that it’s clear what what that content is also, with with internal linking the same thing and not say like, well, I need to vary my anchor text, or I need to make it look like it’s not optimized, because like with internal linking, users want to know what this link is about.
And you want to give that context. So I would just include that context.
SEO Professional 7 27:53
So my point of view of the link is that link is contextual. So wherever I’m linking, I want the user to click there and find the right information. The click link, you know, doesn’t matter. So that brings to the third problem.
So when it’s on LinkedIn is more trusted, you know, it’s coming back. But now there’s a third problem: people are doing guest posts all over, you know, they’re going to these low-quality sites, they’re buying guest posts.
So how, how does Google determine? And it’s like you said, if it’s a good anchor text, use it right? Now, if it’s a guest post, and Google does not know whether it’s paid or not, how will Google then determine whether to take this link?
Or burn this link? You know, what is the answer? So we are safe from all the angles?
Yeah, I mean, if it’s a guest post, then it’s a guest post. And our guidance for links and guest posts is that they should be nofollow.
So if you’re writing these guest posts to drive awareness to your business, I think that’s perfectly fine. I would just really watch out to make sure that the links are nofollow. So that you’re driving awareness, you’re talking about what you’re doing, you’re making it so that users can go to your page. But essentially, it’s an ad for your business.
So from that point of view, I would just make them nofollow. With regards to guest posts in general, like how does Google recognize guest posts?
I think that’s tricky because we use lots of different signals to try to figure out what might be a guest post and how we might need to handle that.
But it’s definitely not the case that it’s just like the link anchor text is what makes it problematic.